Did any of you think we’d be this far into the competition and still have Little Linkie to kick around?
Don’t get me wrong, as a re-capper of Food Network Star, I’m pleased as punch she’s still with us. The woman is comedy gold. Did you see the hysterically perplexed and terrorized look she gave when Giada asked her if she knew how to make a churro? It’s the same look you get from a collie when you light a match in its face.
I tried out for Food Network Star this season, and I didn’t get on. Have I mentioned that yet? And Linkie got on. Under-confident, terminally apologetic Linkie… and not me. I have nothing against the woman, but have you noticed she can’t help but end every single sentence with the words “…and then I stumbled a bit, but I kept going,” like a kid at the fifth grade spelling bee who just got the word “insouciant,” and knew it was all over?
What kind of show did the producers of Food Network Star think they could build around Little Linkie? The only things I’m coming up with are: Passable Entertaining with Linkie, Food for Polite Friends, Apologize and Remind Them You’re Blonde or maybe, The Best Thing I Ever Thought About Making in the Kitchen, but for Some Reason it Came Out Looking Like Soup.
This week, the producers gave Challenge Number One a “food court twist.” Each team was required to prepare and serve food at the South Street Seaport. I was disappointed. If the producers had wanted to put a real “food court twist” on this week’s episode, they would have forced the chefs to work with stenchy teen boys ranking their favorite Family Guy episodes instead of paying attention and timid teen girls just hoping to earn enough money so they could go on the pill before Senior Year. That’d be a Food Network Star challenge I’d put “Words with Friends” down for.
Giada’s Team was assigned the Mexican angle, which was great news for Martita and Yvan, who immediately began listing off items to one another with accents thicker than a two headed Sofia Vergara monster. Less thrilled was our South Afican Linkie, who nervously revealed to camera: “I am freaking out in the highest point you can freak out at.” I didn’t know if she was trying to convey fear or doing an impression of Yoda after too many bong hits.
But before we dive into to Linkie’s churros, let’s check in with the rest of the pack. Poor Nikki is still trying to soften up that prickly personality, which the judges have compared to Axl Rose after a two-day barium enema. Of course, as personalities of her type often do, Nikki clarified to the camera over and over that she’s merely “strong and opinionated… like a roller derby team, or Mothra!”
Michele continues to demonstrate that when life gives you lemons, just make loud huffing noises and snort angrily like a creature J.K. Rowling might have conjured up.
This girl complains about the challenges on this show more often than Suzanne Somers preaches sexiness after seventy. First, she thought her team was dealt the toughest angle in the food court challenge (she and the rest of Team Bobby were assigned “American Deli.”) Next, she complained that Whole Foods didn’t have any chopped clams, which I’m sure went over like gangbusters with the Food Network product placement department. Finally, she yammered and wailed about the intense labor required having to deal with fresh clams instead. “I have to scrub them… I have to clean them… I have to steam them.”
I’d have sympathy for Michele if I hadn’t already been confronted with her menacing type so often in life… at amusement parks (“I don’t care that we voted! Singing bears are still stupid!”)… the post office (“Well then find me someone who can locate the Harry Truman stamps!”)…at the airport (“My mother is Joan Rivers. You don’t want to do this to me!”)
On the flip side, we have Teacher’s Pet Justin, who never met a Secret Ingredient he didn’t eagerly jump up and squeeze with every ounce of arm strength like it was a rich aunt with a heart arrhythmia. This week, it was chicken livers, but really, with Justin, it doesn’t matter. If only one member of the team is required to use it, he’ll be the first to thrust his hand up in the air and make those painful Arnold Horschack sounds just to ensure everyone else immediately backs off.
And then before you know, Justin’s turned in yet another bizarre mutant dish that looks like something that should be racing around in Lewis Carroll’s “The Walrus and the Carpenter,” but generates nothing but kudos and spinning, googly eyes from the Food Network Star judges. It would be annoying already if the guy didn’t have such boyishly lush hair and lips the color of European mountain berries.
But let’s get back to Linkie’s churros, since they were the dominating element in the first half of this episode. It was really bad news from the get go for our Little Linkie. First, she carpet-bombed poor Latin-bred Martita with endless questions about their construction (“Do I use cocoa or chocolate? Should I use dark chocolate? Can I add cayenne? Should I buy my stuff today?”). And then, as she sometimes does, Linkie lost sight of the task at hand and began drifting slightly off topic. (“Is Mexico larger than Greenland? Is cliff diving scary? Why did the Mayans where nose bones? Is Salma Hayek nice? What’s that squiggly thing over your “n” called?)
Have you seen what churros are supposed to look like? Here’s a good example:
And here’s what Linkie came up with:Now, I know what you’re thinking: “Those look more like barbecued kitten legs! Are you sure this isn’t a Justin dish?” Nope, they’re 100% Linkie, but she was at least smart enough to realize they hadn’t turned out nearly soft enough to actually be presented as “churros,” to the judges, so she cleverly spun them as “churros with a biscotti twist” which to me sounds about as appetizing as “rock pudding.” But remember, they didn’t put me on this show. They put on Linkie.
And as clever as the “biscotti churro” ruse might have been, it wasn’t enough to keep Linkie from being one of the final two up for elimination, along with Nikki, the “Personality Porcupine,” who proudly boasted that she’d only eaten the faces off two customers during that day’s food court challenge. “You’ve really come a long way, Nikki!” said Judge Bob Tuschman, to which Judge Susie Fogelson added, “We’ve yet to see someone on Food Network who goes to the trouble of actually killing off our potential audience. That’s an extremely fresh perspective!”
A one-minute on-camera presentation on the subject of chicken was the final nail in Little Linkie’s coffin. Porcupine Nikki may make small children wet themselves and cause the elderly to launch into premature rigor mortis, but I’ll give her this… the girl can talk. Linkie on the other hand, though far warmer, would have a tough time spitting out, “Hi, my name is Linkie!” if it was scribbled on every page of a book entitled, Hi, My Name is Linkie!, authored by her, and super-glued onto her face.
On her way out, Linkie stumbled a bit. But don’t worry Food Network Star fans. She kept going.